When packing for your holiday, don’t forget to throw in your first-aid kit

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01. 09. 2020 General practitioner

In addition to lying in bed until midday and enjoying sunny days, the summer brings along with it some unexpected risks such as suffering from a cold or indigestion. These unwelcome complications can be very easily prevented, but if they do occur then they need to be actively treated.  

Spoiled food: A common problem

In the summer, there tends to be a lot of talk about diarrhoea, which is usually directly related to the consumption of spoiled or badly cooked food- chicken, beef, pork, eggs, mayonnaise, cream and other similar foods. In the summer, we recommend avoiding semi-raw (medium rare/bloody steaks) and raw dishes such as tartare, from sources that are out of your direct control. Intestinal problems can also occur from ingesting water from a natural pool. “Acute diarrhoea is caused by reproducing bacteria and viruses that subsequently contaminate the digestive system with toxins,” says Dr. Štefan Kukura, general practitioner and chief physician at AFI and Hadovka Canadian Medical clinics. In addition to lose and watery stools, patients often feel nauseous, complain of abdominal cramps, vomiting, fever and fatigue.

Diarrhoea more than three times a day dehydrates the body. It’s crucial to replenish your water and electrolyte stores by drinking mineral-enriched fluids. Strive to upkeep your nutritional intake (try having foods such as bananas, crackers, plain rice) and take appropriate antidiarrheal drugs. There are several types of antidiarrheals. Some medications, often in the form of activated charcoal (Carbocit, Carbosorb), or natural purified clay (Smecta) contain an absorbent substance that helps bind harmful substances. Intestinal antiseptics excel in the ability to eliminate harmful bacteria (Endiaron). Some medications reduce the motility of the intestines (Imodium) and can bring relief from diarrhoea as they suppress the symptoms,  but do not solve the cause of the problem. More severe bacterial diarrhoea (e.g. salmonella or campylobacter infection) require a more comprehensive approach and sometimes, antibiotic treatment is necessary.

 

Sore throat in the summer?

Air conditioning on full blast, tropical temperatures, swimming in cold water, challenging hikes, endless travel. Although we consider colds and flus to be more common in the colder months, they can catch us even when we’re on holidays. Give yourself time to rest, replenish your fluids, and for a fever use medication containing ibuprofen or paracetamol. “Definitely do not underestimate a sore throat. We classify tonsillitis as an inflammatory disease of the tonsils. Treatment varies according to the pathogen. Most commonly, angina is caused by a bacteria called betahemolytic streptococcus (streptococcus pyogenes), but viruses and yeasts can also be culprits. Viral origins are characterised by a reddening of the tonsils, fever and a sore throat. The patient’s condition tends to improve within a few days when undergoing symptomatic treatment, “describes Štefan Kukura. Bacterial tonsillitis tends to come on out of nowhere with sudden symptoms and a high fever. Swallowing is accompanied by a burning pain, swollen and sensitive lymph nodes and the tonsils are covered with a white coating and spots that require pharmacological treatment with antibiotics. Untreated tonsillitis poses a significant risk to the body and can result in rheumatic fever which can damage joints and bones and in some severe cases can even lead to impaired kidney function.

 

SOS tips to keep in mind

  • To survive tropical temperatures, try to hide out in a cool and well-ventilated room. Minimise your exposure to direct sunlight at noon and in the afternoon. Wear a head cover and apply sunscreen generously.
  • Don’t go into a forest without putting on tick repellent.
  • Equip yourself with a travel size first-aid kit. The basics that should be included in your fist aid kit include disinfectant, plasters, bandages, painkillers for both pain and fever, antihistamines, nasal drops, cough syrup, thermometer, tweezers, scissors, sunscreen, after sun creams. Also don’t forget your regular prescription medication.
  • Hydration is key. Ideally, drinking still, unsweetened water and the consumption of vegetable soups, broths and fresh fruits and vegetables supply the organism not only with the fluids it requires but also ensures optimal mineral levels. Sufficient hydration is important for the body’s natural thermoregulation (otherwise known as sweating). Try having more watermelon and cucumber!

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